Name: Dodge Dakota Sidewinder
Debuted: 1996 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas
Specs: 640-horsepower V10 8.0-liter engine from the Viper GTS-R, four-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive, 2,700 pounds, 21-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels, 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, 170-mph top speed
Why We Remember It Now:
Dodge’s idea of combining a pickup truck with a convertible and the heart of a race car, the Dakota Sidewinder was far from being an ordinary workhorse.
Conceived as a sportier take on the second-generation Dodge Dakota, the one-off showcar actually had very little in common with the regular production model. Take for example the chassis, which was specifically engineered for the concept by Riley & Scott, the same talented folks that were building the Viper GT-S race car from where the Dakota Sidewinder sourced the engine.
Indeed, while the Dakota throughout its second generation was offered with straight-four, V6 and V8 engines, the concept upped the cylinder count to ten by using the Viper’s 8.0-liter V10 tuned to deliver more than 640 hp. Also from the Viper was the suspension setup, while the six-speed manual gearbox had to make way for a four-speed automatic.
Those massive 21-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels were backed by equally large brakes measuring 15 inches at both axles. Those big brake discs were necessary to match the high level of performance delivered by the pickup truck / cabrio: 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph (274 kph). That acceleration is seriously quick even by today’s standards.
It goes without saying the Dodge Sidewinder concept was too flamboyant to ever be considered as a production model, hence why it remained purely a one-of-a-kind affair.